Introduction to Inspection Checklists

Once construction is completed, the SWM BMP (Stormwater Management Best Management Practices) takes on the role for which it was intended. Periodic site inspections are essential in order to monitor the effectiveness and to anticipate the maintenance needs of the BMP. When conducting inspections, attention should be given not only to the BMP installed for stormwater control, but also to the conveyance system carrying runoff to the BMP and the receiving channel immediately downstream of the BMP. The conveyance channel, curbing and/or storm sewer that convey flow to the BMP or, by design, intentionally divert flows around it are all considered BMP components and must function as intended.
The necessary frequency of inspections will vary with each BMP based on the type of facility, the size of the contributing drainage area, and the land use conditions within the contributing drainage area. The Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations (9 VAC 25-870-114) provide criteria governing local government BMP inspection programs. There is some flexibility provided for inspection frequency for BMPs treating stormwater from an individual residential lot and those BMPs for which schedules are established in individual BMP Maintenance Agreements. Other BMPS must be inspected at least once every five years. However, DEQ recommends that, if feasible, a full inspection should be performed at least once a year, at least for highly engineered facilities such as ponds, constructed wetlands and filters. Localities can take into account the property owners track records pertaining to inspection and maintenance of BMPs on their properties. Ideally, periodic inspections for trash and debris accumulation and general aesthetics should be performed more frequently, after significant storm events.
A generic inspection checklist developed by the Center for Watershed Protection form allows one to quickly assess urban BMP performance using simple visual indicators. This approach was refined and tested through an extensive analysis of hundreds of BMPs located in the James River Basin of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. More detail on the methods and results can be found in Hirschman et al (2009). It is recommended that these rapid investigations be conducted during every other routine stormwater BMP inspection conducted by a locality in order to verify BMP performance. In many cases, the locality may choose to sub-sample its existing inventory of stormwater practices to gain better information. This basic form can be modified, simplified or customized to meet the unique BMP terminology and design criteria employed in the locality. As well, the locality may elect to develop or adapt your own indicators, checklists and field inspection procedures.
This Appendix provides a series of individual BMP example checklists for local governments and others to use to guide inspection and maintenance of specific stormwater control measures. Users should feel free to customize these templates, as appropriate, to more effectively address the situations typically encountered during inspection and maintenance activities and to make them easier for inspectors to use. The checklists are detailed enough for an inexperienced inspector or homeowner not familiar with the specific components of the facility. Checking the column provided under the Investigate heading for any given item indicates a potential problem that requires attention by a qualified individual to interpret the visual indicators for possible maintenance. The checklists should be signed, dated, and maintained at an accessible location such as with an official representative of the homeowners association, the individual or company contracted for maintenance, owner, etc.

Inspection Checklists